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The Facts on the New Blood Test

October 16, 1997|THE WASHINGTON POST

A new test looks for a genetic defect, 11307K, which increases one's chances of getting familial colorectal cancer. As a class, these inherited colon cancers constitute 15% to 50% of all colorectal cancers. This defect is rare in people who are not Jewish.

(Tests exist for two other kinds of inherited colon cancer: hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer and familial adenomatous colon cancer.)

The new blood test is available only through Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, but may soon be available elsewhere. Hopkins requires genetic counseling for all considering taking the test. People can get counseling where they live and send their blood to Hopkins for testing.

Hopkins recommends the test to Ashkenazi Jews with at least one parent, sibling or child with colon cancer or precancerous polyps, and will make the test available to other Ashkenazi Jews who want the test after counseling.

The test costs about $200. Some insurance companies may cover it.

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